Business & Finance Taxes

Is Cosmetic Surgery Tax Deductible?

The news on celebrity gossip channels are always alive with stories of celebrities who have undergone plastic surgery.
The news always comes with a lot of criticism with some claiming that the surgeries only make the celebrities look worse than they did before.
However, irrespective of how the cosmetic surgery makes a celebrity look, the tax question at hand is whether such operations are tax deductible or not.
According to the IRS, plastic surgery may either be cosmetic surgery or corrective surgery.
A corrective surgery is tax deductible under medical expenses while a plastic surgery is not.
Doctors and qualifying medical practitioners have the legal prerogative to determine whether a physical-attribute-altering procedure is cosmetic or corrective.
A corrective procedure is one that ideally alters the physical looks of a part of the body to restore or correct a bodily function.
Such a corrective surgery can be claimed as a legitimate medical expense and is an allowable deduction.
If a taxpayer pays for the corrective surgery out of his or her pocket, she or he can include the surgery as an itemized deduction on Schedule A of the tax returns and indicate the cost as a part of their medical expenses.
The amount of the qualifying medical expenses to be deductible will be the excess of 7.
5% of the Adjusted Gross Income as is the case with all other itemized deductions pertaining to medical expenses.
On the other hand, a cosmetic surgery is considered a procedure that is done on an individual for the purpose of changing the looks and appearances of the individual with no medical necessity to do so.
In these cases, individuals will undergo a cosmetic procedure to look more beautiful or appealing.
Such cosmetic surgeries are not tax-deductable and the individual who gets such an operation can claim no medical deductions.
For most insurance companies that provide a health insurance policy, corrective surgery is covered while cosmetic surgery is not under their health policies.
The IRS provides the difference between the two types of surgeries in Publication 502, "Medical and Dental Expenses".
In the publication, the IRS defines a corrective surgery as a procedure that improves deformities caused by congenital abnormality, personal injury, or disfiguring disease.
The IRS also gives an example of a corrective surgery as an operation performed to restore a breast for a breast cancer survivor who had his or her breast removed to fight the disease.
Other qualifying corrective surgeries will include skin plastic surgery to restore a victim of burns and corrective surgery taken on accident victims to restore their physical functionality.
You can always find out from your doctor whether any given plastic surgery will qualify as corrective surgery or will fall under cosmetic surgery.


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